Americans are living the shortest lives in almost three decades. Serious questions are growing about exactly why this is happening and what’s leading to so many people dying earlier.
The new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show several things are contributing to the worsening death rate.
Why Is Life Expectancy Plummeting?
According to the CDC data, the past year saw a 5% increase in the American rate of death caused many by drug overdoses, COVID-related deaths, and a rising suicide rate.
The horrifying truth is overdose deaths in the United States have increased by 500% since 2002. This is mainly due to opioid abuse, which has spread like wildfire throughout the country, taking many lives of all ages, including teens and young adults.
The life expectancy has fallen to 76.4 years of age. The last time it was lower than this was in 1996 when the average life expectancy was 76.1.
Men have seen more of a drop than women, with their life expectancy dropping by .7 years and women’s dropping by .6 years.
COVID-related death and drug overdoses were pegged by the CDC as the main contributing factors in these excess deaths that are dragging down the numbers of overall life expectancy.
Mental health crises and suicide are also very serious contributing factors, worsened by the isolation and disruption of the pandemic.
— Donna preston (@geekonline) December 22, 2022
America’s Mental Health Crisis
Suicide is a major factor in early death in the US, particularly in the age bracket of people from 10 to 34 years old. In fact, it’s the second leading cause of death for people in this age bracket.
In 2021, there were 47,646 suicides in the United States and more than three million suicide attempts. Mental health is on a definite decline, as Gallup goes over in a recent report.
They note before the pandemic, 45% of Americans said they had “excellent” mental health, but eight months into COVID, that figure had dropped to 34%, the lowest in several decades.
We’re still at this low self-assessment of mental health now in the latest findings from 2022.
It’s not only the isolation and disruption of the pandemic, but also the economic fallout from it. Young adults in particular are feeling overwhelmed by life and the cost of living, as well as their psychological issues.
In the past year, over 23% of American adults went to a counselor or psychologist for mental health struggles.
A decade ago, 13% went to a therapist. That’s millions and millions more feeling overwhelmed about life and their problems. It is certainly contributing to the excess death rate as well.
US life expectancy reaches 25-year low, according to CDChttps://t.co/oVoeCMmB2X
The @CDCgov is yet another failed American Government institution filled with political hacks just like the @FBI and @DOJPH
— NAVONE (@NAVONEFlorida) December 22, 2022
The Bottom Line
America has a drug overdose and mental health crisis that is taking too many young lives far too soon.
If you are having thoughts of self-harm or need somebody to talk to, call the Suicide Crisis Hotline by texting or calling 988.This article appeared in StatesmanPost and has been published here with permission.